Are we failing Children? Teaching them how to read and write but not how to move.

If you put a simple search into google for the definition of ‘literacy’ the first definition that comes up is ‘the ability to read and write’ (Oxford Dictionary). 

Whereas, if you type ‘physical literacy’ the first definition that comes up is "Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life." - (The International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014.).

Which one is more powerful?....

Don’t get me wrong, I am not for one second saying that reading and writing are not important. Without that, I would not be able to get this point across and you would not be able to read it. I am simply saying that throughout our lives, so much more importance is placed on literacy versus physical literacy. This, in my opinion, points to the possibility that we are failing children in a key area that will enable them to lead the life they’re capable of.

Most teachers, especially at primary school are generalists by trade, teaching a variety of curriculum subjects including PE sessions. We know that an opportune window for children to learn and develop new skills is during primary school years. With an ever-increasing workload and the priority on academia, it is no wonder that PE and sport are, at times, avoided or not really considered by teachers…

Because, when you think about it, who is teaching the teachers how to run and move correctly? This will not have been covered in teacher training...

Imagine that you watched a race where a group of teachers lined up lanes 1-6 on a running track, then watched the same thing with 12-year-olds. What do you think you would see? I imagine we would see similar challenges throughout both groups. This illustrates my point that it would be an incredibly tough session to teach to deliver if, you, yourself, were self-conscious about the way you run or didn’t understand how to coach running.

The best thing about this? There’s a simple fix. If teachers and sports coaches understood the full extent of the lifetime value of learning how to run and move well from an early age and were equipped with the tools to teach children how to run, jump, land and change direction effectively in a fun, engaging and safe way, they could easily build this into their sessions.  This not only would result in a population of children who run faster and move better every day but also get injured less and have more confidence to compete in sport.

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